Follow Me - - Come and See

Date: 
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Scriptures: 
John 1:43-51

Andrew was a follower of John the baptizer.  One day, after Jesus’ baptism, John draws attention to Jesus.  Andrew sees Jesus and asks Jesus where he was staying.

Jesus says: “Come and see.”

In fact, Jesus was inviting Andrew to come and believe:
    inviting Andrew to follow, to make Jesus a part of his life.... and thus to believe.
And Andrew followed, and saw.
And Andrew invited Peter, his brother.

Now, Jesus did not promise them anything.  
    He did not promise them a life of ease.
    He did not promise them peace, lack of stress, or a place in heaven.
    No 30 day, money back guarantee.
    “Come and see.”

Next, we come to today’s reading.  One of John’s ways of giving us the message that Jesus is the Messiah is to show Jesus knowing things that he could not know.  Such as the idea that Philip was to be his disciple – a very Calvanist theology.  Or perhaps Jesus looked for Philip because Andrew and Peter told him about Philip - the three were from the same town.

In any case, when Jesus met Philip, he said to Philip: “Follow me.”
And there was no argument.  Philip joined the group.
Follow me
    no promise given
    He did not promise him a life of ease.
    He did not promise him peace, lack of stress, or a place in heaven.
    No 30 day, money back guarantee.
    “Follow me.”

But Philip not only followed.
He went and found a friend of his, Nathaniel.

“Nate, we’ve found the one that Moses foretold, we’ve found the one that the prophets wrote about.  You know, the anointed one, the Messiah.”

“Wow, Philip, that is awesome.  Tell me about him.”

“Well his name is Jesus bar Joseph.  He’s from Nazareth.”

“Ha!  You’re quite the joker, Philip.  Can anything good come out of Nazareth?  That’s almost as funny as the joke you told me about the rabbi, the priest and the Pharisee!”

“No, seriously, Nate.  It’s true.  It’s him.  Come and see!”

And so Philip echoed the words that he had not heard Jesus say to Andrew.
Come and see.
Come and believe.
Come and trust.

And Philip came to Jesus.
    no promise was given
    Jesus did not promise him a life of ease.
    Jesus did not promise him peace, lack of stress, or a place in heaven.
    No 30 day, money back guarantee.
    .....Just echoes of Philip’s words:  “Come and see.”

You know, I find the approach by Jesus, and even the approach by Philip, to be quite interesting.
You can compare it to today’s consumer attitude towards goods -
    guarantees.  Extended guarantees.  
    If the chips are fresh, just sent them to us and we’ll refund you.
    If the pizza is not delivered in 30 minutes, it’s free.
    
Nope, none of that.
    Just “Follow me.”
    Just “Come and see”.  Come and believe, come and trust.

But I even compare it to the approach of many churches.
Join our church, give your life to Christ – and you will be blessed.
Join our church, give your life to Christ – and your life will be better.
    Seems maybe there might be health benefits, financial benefits, family relationship benefits, etc.  Oh, and eternal life thrown in.

Curious that this was not Jesus’ approach!
Follow me.
Come and see.
    Come and believe, come and trust.

Now that is not to say that Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathaniel did not gain any benefits.  Certainly they gained a knowledge of eternal life.  Certainly they gained a sense of purpose in their lives.

But that was not a part of Jesus’ sales pitch.
It is on the basis of “Follow me”;
It is on the basis of “Come and see” that they turned and committed themselves to him.

I think there is an ongoing challenge to us in that.
We are not to become Christian or even stay Christian because of the benefits and blessings.
We are to become Christian or stay Christian simply because Jesus has said to each one of us “Follow me.”
We are to become Christian or stay Christian simply because Jesus has said to each one of us “Come and see, come and believe, come and trust.”

And then, following, seeing, believing, trusting..... we come to know the blessings and the benefits.

- - - - - -

In all of this there are two more challenges.

The first is to do the Philip thing.
Speak to others.
Invite them to come and see.

We’re not good at that.  We know for sure we don’t want to come across like some others who go door to door because they are required to do so.  We don’t want to come across like some others who seem judgmental and narrow and “holier than thou”.
So many of us say nothing.
We don’t say “come and see.”

I’m telling you again what I’ve said before: most people come to a church for the first time because someone brought them or invited them.

Sure, they might come because of the website.
They might come because they met the minister at the Remembrance Day or St. Pat’s day parades.
But the most likely reason is because someone invited them, just like Nathaniel was invited by Philip.

Of course, what did Nathaniel do?  What sometimes stops us from inviting?
“You want me to what?   Come to church?  The roof will fall in if I come!  And.... I certainly don’t want to be one of those self-righteous people that I sometimes hear about.....”
And so often we say nothing.
We don’t say “Come and see.”
We often say nothing.

The other challenge is for us ALL to make sure that this congregation has something meaningful to offer.

“Come and see”, you might want to say about being here.
“See what?”, the question comes back.
“Well, I don’t know....maybe there will be something for you.....”

We all have a job to make sure that we really have something to see, something to offer.  To children, to youth, to adults.

No one can do that alone.
No one can to that without support from everyone.

- - - - - -
Follow me
Come and see

Invitation.  
And a challenge to be the best church we can possibly be.
Follow me
Come and see